The Perennial

A little Halloween dark humour for my friends.

Photo by Sabina Music Rich on Unsplash

She buried my body deep beneath the winter snow. There, where autumn’s rotting foliage tickled at my face and branches aplenty dug into my naked flesh, I festered. The dead do that, fester. What else is there to do?

There is being cold and being of the cold. The former is remedied by a cardigan or two, an extra pair of socks, or a berth by the fire, whereas the latter, now, this is something altogether more chilling. There is nothing one can do but succumb. I lay immobile as the mycorrhizae tied my body in knots, just waiting to emerge as fungi bearing my deceased features. To think some sweet child might turn over a log to my unyielding, sunken flesh instead of a house for a gnome, disgusted. No, this would not do. 

Spring came in a burst of sound and a sudden blast of warmth. Even deep below my now melted mantle, where the light failed to illuminate, it still infused. And I was infused with an unshakable desire to escape. Yet, earth is earth, and dead is dead, and I was going nowhere. For now, anyway. 

This particular summer grew so hot it burnt the flowers and scorched the ground. Birds stopped singing to conserve energy. Worms hid, preferring a possible drowning on those rare days the heavens wept to certain incineration. As for mankind? The hum of their air conditioning rattled my crumbling bones. 

Winter returned. It was a mild affair, never having quite got over the Saharan months. Green remained long into the white season. Leaves fell only when bored. The soft soil invited excavations. Three badgers and a fox later, I was out.

Release is a dish best served once. To have sampled another would have lessened the effect of the first. I had no desire for diluted freedoms. 

I rose from the ground like vapour from a pond, slipping through the woods unnoticed, through the city streets, back home. She was there. 

I came upon her suddenly like a sea fret localised to her bed. “Why?” I demanded, my voice rising and falling like the sea I affected. 

“George? Is that you?”

She sat up and put her glasses on. Her dentures remained in the bedside glass. 

“Why did you kill me, bury me, forsake me? Why?” By now I was closer to a wailing gale. The curtains flapped. The walls shook. A black-and-white photo of our wedding day smashed on the floor. 

“Because you were dead.”

“You buried me in a wood beneath the snow like a dog.”

“Not this again!” She almost shook her wig off. 


“It’s what you wanted!” she exclaimed. 

“But you killed me, you Babylonian whore.”

“Life killed you, George. You were ninety-six. You couldn’t handle it anymore. It had to happen sooner or later.”

What residue of my mind remained dizzied. I felt a vortex tug at my feet, sucking me down, down, down. This, my one chance for revenge, threatened escape, and I redoubled my efforts. “I… must… kill… you…”

“I wish you’d kill me,” said the clean-shaven young man who emerged from under the covers. “She is.”

With that, I vanished back to the cemetery in the woods and the laughter of those who lay there, my grave more turbulent than ever. My festering renewed. 

Still, there was always next year. 

The End. 


Thank you for reading



Skeletal Explanations

Photo by Ryan Gagnon on Unsplash

She plays his bones like a glockenspiel
He likes how it tickles

He grins at how her skull echoes
She just glad he’s talking in her ear

Theirs is a musical marriage
Hollow notes and ricochets

A tickle of the ivories, they say
But who ever played their own

Such skeletal explanations multiply
As their symphony develops

How grateful are the moles and worms
Now they’ve taken it below

Thank you for reading

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

The Closest We Came

Photo by Amanda Mocci on Unsplash

The closest we came to forever was the moment in which we gave up. Our breaths held and never really returned. The moment drew out to seconds, to hours, to more. Your eyes dimmed like exhausted candles. Mine were already black.

The closest we came to forgiveness was that moment we met at the wake. Dressed in black from head to toe, I barely recognised you. I said Hello and you almost said it back.

The closest we came to something was that moment when we both said, I do. I remember how it felt, not how it sounded, as those three tiny letters sunk beneath my skin and slipped off your well-oiled own.

The closest we came was closer than most but never close enough for me.

Thank you for reading

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.